Pollen Count: Answers to Four Frequently Asked Questions

Spring allergy season: The most hated time of year if you are part of the 8 percent of adults in the United States who suffer from pollen allergies and the sneezing, watery eyes, and an endless amount of tissues.1If you're among that segment of the population, you may think all hope is lost and you just have to power through "pollen-apalooza." After all, you can't stop grasses, trees, and weeds from pollenating.

But knowing how much pollen is in the air at any given time means you can make informed decisions about your daily activities to better avoid triggers. If pollen count is high on a Monday morning, for example, you can wait until the evening to get your daily run in.

What Is Pollen Count, How Is it Measured, and More

You might be thinking, "OK that's good to know, but how does one track pollen?" Glad you asked! With pollen season right around the corner, it's time to prep for the impending doom—er, bloom. Here are answers to four frequently asked pollen-count questions:

Pollen Count: What it is and how it's measured?

A pollen count tells us how much pollen is in the air at a certain time. Pollen counts are generally taken with an air-sampling device, such as a rotorod. The device uses sticky rods that test the air on a regular basis. Every 24 hours or so, these rods are then examined for the number of pollen grains covering the rod. The count is then converted into units of grains per cubic meter of air. Fortunately, these measurements are eventually calculated into an amount that makes sense to the general public: low, moderate, or high.2

How can you check the pollen count?

There are a few tools out there that provide timely information that allows you to consistently monitor pollen levels, so you can ultimately better manage your symptoms. One of them is the daily allergy forecast that show the upcoming airborne allergen conditions in your local environment. Simply enter your zip to get a clear picture of the allergy and pollen forecast in your area.

When are pollen counts highest?

Pollen levels vary on location and season, and are directly connected to weather conditions. Warm, dry, and windy conditions have high pollen levels, while rain or cool weather dramatically drops pollen levels. The spring season is typically when pollen levels are highest, when grasses and trees are in full force. Pollen.com reports that counts are the highest in the morning, between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. It is important to note that many plants pollinate year round, so checking pollen count everyday throughout the year is recommended.

What is considered a high pollen count?

Pollen levels reported on pollen.com fall on a 0-12 scale, zero being the lowest and 12 being the highest.3

  • 0-2.4: low pollen level
  • 2.5-4.8: low-medium range
  • 4.9-7.2: medium pollen level
  • 7.3-9.6:medium-high
  • 9.7-12: high
  • What to do about a high pollen count?

    While there's nothing you can really do to prevent every microscopic speck of pollen from entering your personal space, checking pollen counts daily and knowing what to do with that information can help mitigate symptoms and potentially reduce your tissue budget. Learn more about pollen allergies.


    [1] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/allergy_and_asthma/allergy_and_asthma_statistics_85,P00037
    [2] https://www.acsh.org/news/2016/04/01/how-do-we-count-pollen-anyway
    [3] https://www.pollen.com/help/about

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